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starship-design: FTL travel

> Or biulding a titanic in segments to be assembled in the
> feild.  Prefabing
> little segments of a statin to be assembled in orbit means
> lots more seams to
> leak.  Besides its not like your likely to have a lot of
> things in the
> station that you'l have lots of copies of.  So mass productin
> is a bit
> dificult.

You still missed the point, if you are only building one of the end product,
it doesn't matter if you prefab it in sections and boost it or boost it all
at once. Cost savings arise when you build the SAME piece over and over
again. (I will grant that you can't build an interstellar ship and boost it
all in one piece, at least, not yet.)

However, if you have an industry that is mass producing engines for
instance, it will be cheaper to use several of those engines if necessary
rather than building one special purpose engine to do the same job. It will
be cheaper still if those engines are all being mass produced in orbit from
materials which are already in orbit rather than boosting ANY of the
components from Earth.
> No because the infastructure to build the probes and early
> stations is much
> larger and heavier then years worth of probes and statins would be.

Yes, the infrastructure IS expensive. I stated that right up front. But it
is also paying it's own way. So the cost is amortized across other projects
besides just one interstellar craft.

> Expensive launch is much less of a problem since the bulk of
> the cost of a
> good reusable is building the craft and keeping up its
> facilities and such.
> So if you quadruple the launch rate the total cost goes up
> far far less.  In
> some cases hardly at all.  Just fuel and wear.

Not true. See below for more.

> With DC-x they found if you
> launched 3 times a week or three times a year you had to keep
> most of the
> same people on in similar pay rates.  Spare parts and such ae
> a pretty low in
> comparison, and ofcourse the cost to develop and build the
> craft are divided
> over the total number of flights.

That much is true but keep going....

> If your lifting 10,000 tons you can cut lift costs
> dramatically.  Cut costs
> to 1/100th that of a titan or such and the total lift cost would be
> $2,000,000,000  About the cost of 1 year of shuttle launches
> (under 200 tons
> possible lift).

Ahh, but here is the mistake. You can't realize significant cost savings
with EXPENDABLE boosters such as Titan or Ariane no matter how often you
launch. Sure, you get to amortize the cost of the launch crew and facilities
across more launches, BUT, that launch crew and those facilities cost
thousands of times what a DC-X costs to launch in the first place. Now if
you can launch a DC-X on such a schedule you are right, you will reap a one
hundred fold decrease in launch cost because it IS NOT EXPENDABLE.
Unfortunately we need a one thousand fold decrease even for the mundane
orbital industry I am promoting. Nothing currently on the drawing board is
capable of putting an interstellar craft into orbit even if we could build
it. Not to be repetitious but, you cannot reduce cost by 100 times no matter
how many times a year you launch an expendable booster.

> Shows you how bad current launchers are.  In theory the lift
> costs could be
> cut even another factor of ten or 100.


> Now obviously your not going to want to lift millions to
> hundreds of millions
> of tons for a big starship if you could get it cheaper in
> space.  But you
> wouldn't want to life a thousand ton steel mill to make 40
> tons of steel.

Which is why I said LOTS of orbital industry paying it own way doing other
things. The steel for the interstellar probe becomes just one more job, not
THE job.

> >Third, what do you want to see, a repeat of Apollo? Okay
> lets spend ten
> >trillion dollars to put a man on the third planet of Alpha
> Centauri and
> >then
> >go home and quit? Not me.
> >
> >I want to see a thriving orbital industry sending hundreds
> of ships out
> >to
> >mine asteroids, ferry goods to and from orbital
> installations, the moon
> >and
> >the planets. Research stations all over the solar system,
> inhabited stations
> >all over the place. In short lots and LOTS of experienced
> orbital know
> >how.
> Then you don't want the interstellar or any exploration
> missions, you want a
> earth side market for your space based industry.  Without
> that it will all
> blow away to dust like NASA after Apollo.  Doesn't mater how
> much stuff you
> put up there.  If its up there for no real general pourpose, It'll be
> abandoned.

Similar arguments abounded when America was colonized. You should really
read some of the history (and I don't mean the popular sort) of the early
days of America. European investors tried all kinds of crazy schemes to make
a profit in America. Glass blowing comes to mind. A man decided he would
create a native glass blowing industry to export glass bottles and such to
Europe. Wonderful idea, but it could never compete with the glass which was
being made IN Europe, which was invariably cheaper because of transportation
costs. Nevertheless, things did work out that there WERE things to trade for
and here we are today.

I believe that Earth will always be a market for goods which simply cannot
be manufactured in a gravity well or in atmosphere, but that eventually (and
rather sooner than later) space born consumers will predominate the demand.
Just as in the early days of Colonial America, a mindset will develop that
we (the space faring) will trade with ourselves first before we give
anything to the Earth borne who put us here in the first place.

> >Anything can be manufactured in space. Many things can be
> manufactured
> >BETTER. I have a get out of jail card and I think space is
> the equivalent
> >of
> >Boardwalk and Park Place with hotels...very profitable.
> Good idea, but a different conversation.  Space tourism could
> easily dwarf
> anything we're talking about.  It would nessisarily keep any
> manufacturing
> facilities going.  (How many factories moved to Cancun, or
> Jamaca?)  But they
> would feed a HUGE launch industry and provide launch
> infastructure to drool
> for, as well as residence facilities for research and
> consructin platforms to
> house their staffs on.

Interesting point, but not quite the one I had in mind. Still you are
correct, any industry in space that creates the demand for more industry
starts a chain reaction that cannot help but to beneficial to us in the long
run. I'm not too proud to accept tourism or even entertainment as the
vehicle. Hmmm, we're back to my not so hidden agenda problem again!

> Congress has to change the law and when they found Kistler
> was being forced
> off shore they did (I'm pretty sure).

Nope, it is nothing more than a RULE established by the FAA. And like any
bueuracracy, they don't want to let go of control. I will try to find
references this weekend. This was a big deal a year or so ago, it shouldn't
be hard to look up.